Victories | Oceana


Since 2001, Oceana has achieved hundreds of concrete policy victories for marine life and habitats. From stopping bottom trawling in sensitive habitat areas to protecting sea turtles from commercial fishing gear, our victories represent a new hope for the world's oceans.

March, 2019

Oceana Wins Lawsuit to Protect Vulnerable Dusky Sharks

A federal judge ruled that the federal government has to do more to reduce the killing of dusky sharks as a result of bycatch – the capture of non-target fish and ocean wildlife. The ruling, in response to an Oceana lawsuit in which we were represented by Earthjustice, found that the government failed to use all available scientific evidence. Dusky shark populations off the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts have plummeted by at least 65% in the past two decades as a result of bycatch. Dusky sharks can live as long as a half a century and are greatly impacted by overfishing as they grow and reproduce slowly.

March, 2019

Canada Creates Banc-des-Américains Marine Protected Area

The Government of Canada established a 1,000 square kilometer marine protected area (MPA) in the Gulf of St. Lawrence called the Banc-des-Américains. This new MPA protects one of Canada’s most diverse and productive marine areas. In 2017, Oceana Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada partnered to conduct an expedition in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, including the Banc-des-Américains. The government used data from the expedition to support protection and management of important habitat, including habitat-forming corals and sponges, forage fishes like capelin and herring, commercially important species like crab and shrimp, and the iconic and highly endangered North Atlantic right whale.

February, 2019

Spain Creates the Second-Largest Marine National Park in the Mediterranean

After more than a decade of campaign work by Oceana and our allies, including six research expeditions made possible by numerous supporters, the Spanish government increased the size of Cabrera National Park from 100 to 900 square kilometers. This increase makes Cabrera – one of the richest and most biodiverse places in the Mediterranean and Spanish Coast – the second largest marine national park in the Mediterranean and the first one to protect deep-sea corals.

January, 2019

Chile Passes One of World’s Strongest Laws Against Illegal Fishing

After campaigning by Oceana and our allies, Chile passed a new law to fight illegal fishing. The new law extends criminal liability for illegal fishing to transporters, processors, vendors and other middlemen – where the most money from criminal activity is to be made – while legalizing subsistence and survival fishing. Oceana advocated for modernization of the law for three years and introduced one of its key components: mandating that the government make publicly accessible the fishing vessels tracking data it collects.

January, 2019

The Philippines Create Science-based Fisheries Management Areas

The Philippines government formally established Fisheries Management Areas (FMAs) making Filipino fisheries management science-based, participatory, transparent, and data-driven. The policy regulation directs all coastal, local governments to conserve and sustainably manage shared fishery resources. Oceana was a driving force in the issuance of the regulation. This regulation also comes after an October 2018 Oceana lawsuit, which successfully petitioned the country’s Supreme Court to direct the government’s fishery agency – the Department of Agriculture - Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources - to carry out its legal responsibilities.  

December, 2018

The Philippines Protects 266,000 Square Kilometers of Ocean from Bottom Trawling

In the Philippines, following Oceana’s campaign, the government effectively ended bottom trawling in all municipal waters. The area protected is roughly equivalent to the landmass of the entire country. Bottom trawlers destroy habitat, which includes ocean nurseries, by dragging heavily weighted nets across the ocean floor in pursuit of fish and leaving behind damage that can last centuries.

December, 2018

Peru Passes Law to Ban Plastic Bags and Reduce Plastics Use in Protected Areas

After campaigning by Oceana and our allies, a new law in Peru will reduce the use of plastics and plastic pollution. Peru’s Congress passed legislation that bans the use of plastic bags and restricts other single-use plastics including straws. The measures also prohibit the use of plastics in Peru’s beaches, coast, and the country’s many protected areas.

October, 2018

California Stops Use of Destructive Fishing Gear that Kills Dolphins, Turtles, and Sharks

The California swordfish drift gillnet fishery kills more dolphins than all observed U.S. West Coast fisheries combined. Thanks to a years-long campaign by Oceana and our allies, a new California law will clean up the fishery by phasing out the use of drift gillnets through a buyout transition program and incentivizing the use of cleaner fishing gear.

September, 2018

Brazil Stops Destructive Bottom Trawling in 13,000 Square Kilometers of Ocean That Is Home To Endangered Species

After campaigning by Oceana and our allies, the government of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil’s southernmost state, passed a law to ban existing bottom trawling. These new protections extend along the entire length of the state’s 620-kilometer coast and cover a distance out to 12 nautical miles (22.2 km) from shore. The ban protects waters that are important to artisanal fishers and home to many endangered species.

June, 2018

Malta Expands Habitat Protections in the Mediterranean and Protects 35% of its Waters

This announcement is the result of Oceana efforts that began in 2013, and the protections are based on the findings of two Oceana expeditions (2015 and 2016 LIFE BaĦAR Expeditions). Oceana mapped out sandbanks, reefs, and more than 89 marine caves through use of a remotely operated vehicle and scuba divers. With these new measures, 35% of Malta’s waters are now protected.